General Electric (GE) CEO Jeff Immelt Interview

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General Electric (GE) CEO Jeff Immelt on whether the company company was too big when he took over the helm as CEO

“Most companies are both a fit of core competency and the times they’re in. In the 80s and 90s, the economy was kinder. There was no inflation, G.D.P. growth was 3 or 4 percent. The economy was leveraging. If I would go out today and say, “Guess what? I have a great idea. We’re going to buy a media company,” I’d get shot. Or if I were to say to you, “Hey, look, I was really great at picking jet engines and picking TV shows”—that’s complete bull, really. In the world of 4 percent G.D.P. growth you could do it. In a world of 2 percent G.D.P. growth, you really have to be good at everything you do.”

General Electric (GE) CEO Jeff Immelt on the company’s focus on software

“Picture a jet engine. A jet engine in a Boeing 737 probably has 30 to 50 sensors on it. It’s taking multiple readings on a continuous basis—fuel efficiency, wear of the blade, heat of the engine, altitude. We today have the ability to take that data and go to an airline and say, “If you did these three things, your fuel performance could improve by 1 percent. If you take your planes off differently in Chicago than Dubai, you can get more cycles on that plane between the times when you have to take it in the repair shop.” That sounds mundane, but its worth tens of millions of dollars. The experience of buying books on Amazon is now coming to the industrial world.  That throws all of the advances of data and software from the consumer world into the industrial world. We look at that and say, “Why not us?” We think we can be a viable competitor against software companies because we have the assets.”

They now want all their college graduate hires to be able to code

“Manufacturing is important for the company today. It’ll be important for the company in the future. Those are people making $65,000, $70,000 a year. Those jobs in our world will continue to grow, but they won’t grow as quickly. The new middle-class job is a programmer, a data scientist. A lot of people who work in factories have college degrees, but many of them have associates degrees. I think it’s much harder to find a really great middle-class job that somebody can find with an associate’s degree today. Those are few and far between. Everybody who joins G.E. is going to learn to code. We hire 4,000 to 5,000 college grads every year, and whether they join in finance or I.T. or marketing, they’re going to code.”

General Electric (GE) CEO Jeff Immelt on what he skills he wants to see in his successor

“In some ways we are working on succession all the time. You don’t become C.E.O. for what you know, you become C.E.O. for how fast we think you can learn. There’s a whole bunch of things that go into it. How fast can they learn? How resilient are they? How competitive are they? And those are things that really put you in good stead.”

 

 

Source: Vanity Fair Interview August 3, 2016 http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/08/the-competitor-amazon-never-saw-coming